Pasta is affordable, versatile, and popular, making it easy to cook yourself and please the whole family!
WASHINGTON D.C. – The unprecedented interruption and devastation unleashed by COVID-19 left a lot of families learning the basics of cooking and gathering as many pantry staples as they could find in emptied out grocery stores. Pasta quickly proved once again to be a tried-and-true favorite among many families around the world as cooking at home became an almost universal “new normal.” Luckily, pasta comes in many varieties, including whole wheat, gluten-free, and plant-based options like legume and chickpea, making it an appealing option for families who have picky eaters, kids with special dietary needs, or family members on special diets. Plus, pasta is quick to make, has a long shelf life, and can be customized in a pinch. In honor of National Pasta Month, Pasta Fits, the consumer platform for the National Pasta Association, has compiled a wide range of pasta dishes that are delicious, nutritious, and easy to make right at home.
“Pasta is one of my favorite foods to recommend as a nutritionist. It’s so versatile and can easily fit into almost any dietary pattern. Whether you need to exclude certain foods or add certain foods in, pasta meets the challenge,” says DC-based registered dietitian, Diane Welland. “You can customize a pasta meal as much as you want – there really are no wrong combinations. Here are a few of my top picks.”
For the vegan:
- Vegan Kale and Whole Wheat Rotini Pasta – The versatility is really in the name here! Not only is this a vegan-friendly option, but it incorporates whole wheat rotini noodles too. This colorful dish will fill you up without weighing you down. Kale and white beans provide fiber and protein, as well as color, all dressed with a flavorful basil white wine vinaigrette! Even better? It’s ready in just 30 minutes.
For the veggie lover:
- Green Pasta Puttanesca – This vegetarian pasta dish combines the classic taste of Italian Puttanesca with a modern “green” twist, featuring arugula, spinach, and basil. This 20 minute meal is made even simpler as most of the ingredients are so easy to find that you might already have them right in your pantry.
For the spice lover:
- Butter Chicken Rigatoni– One of the best things about pasta is that it fits into so many cultures and flavor profiles. This butter chicken recipe highlights Indian and Middle Eastern spices and flavors the whole family will love and can still be prepped in just 25 minutes.
For the pescatarian:
- Lemony Grilled Calamari Ziti –This dish combines the light and refreshing flavors of lemon, garlic, and calamari with an easy 30 minute prep and cook time. Plus, it’s a great dairy free option to boot!
For the Asian cuisine foodie:
- Pork, Mushroom & Noodle Stir-Fry– We can’t talk about pasta without talking about stir-fry! Although stir-fries can be made with any type of noodle, this contemporary version incorporates the soba noodle, which is made with buckwheat flour and makes for a healthy, tasty base. This dish is topped with pork, mushroom, and fresh veggies with an Asian-inspired sauce, but can easily be adapted to fit any taste. It’s a 30-minute meal that’s hard to beat!
If you’re looking for creative pasta recipes to fit in your day-to-day life, visit www.PastaFits.org and sort the recipes by category. You can also sort by cook time and cuisine type to find exactly what you’re looking for. Share your recipes with us using #mypastafits.
About the National Pasta Association (NPA):
NPA is the leading trade association for the U.S. pasta industry. NPA encourages the consumption of pasta by being the center of knowledge and promoting sound public policy to the consumer, the industry and the regulatory bodies because a sustainable pasta industry is vital to healthy diets.